Just don’t mention the ‘student experience’

UB Editor Rebecca Paddick explain why she isn’t a fan of the well-used industry phrase

The student experience is one of those terms that people working in the HE sector will most likely hear on a daily basis. And, let’s be honest, it can grate.

In my two-and-a-half years as UB editor, I’ve heard it thousands of times; at conferences, in interviews, speeches, awards evenings, we’re all talking about the best possible ways to keep students satisfied. Why am I not a fan? Well, I’m just not that keen on the image it creates of our undergraduates; I can’t help but think it unjustly paints them as demanding consumers, instead of the hard-working, ambitious young people we all know they are.

So when we started work on this, our ‘student experience’ issue, I took a deep breath and thought, what else can we bring to the table when covering this popular topic? So, we’ve kicked it off with a good old-fashioned debate. Turn to page 12 for our roundtable discussion on the most important student issues arising this academic year.

ABOVE: The UB October edition is now available to download

And, it appears as though I’m not the only one who isn’t a lover of the term. When I interviewed the University of Bath’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Glynis Breakwell, a few weeks back, she explained why the term is a misrepresentation of her students. During my visit, the VC also took the opportunity to highlight the University’s achievements in research, campus developments, and, of course, student satisfaction. Read Bath’s success story on page 38.

To top it all off, the spotlight is on the University of Leeds this month, as it launches its ambitious campus masterplan

What do you think the ‘student experience’ should mean? As always, I’d love to hear your views, so please get in touch: rebecca.paddick@wildfirecomms.co.uk

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